Friday, November 16, 2012

Holiday Reading List

We are smack dab in the middle of my favorite time of the year - holidaytime! Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, New Years. I love it. I am a sucker for anything holiday. Crappy ABC Family hoilday movies. Store displays. I'll salivate over anything red and green. (Sidenote: Yes, I am Jewish and I celebrate Hanukkah, but I love American Christmas, which strips away all religious components of the holiday and replaces them with pure cheese and commercialization. It's not about Jesus's b'day for me; it's about Home Alone.)

And yes, as I write this, I am listening to 24/7 Christmas music on 93.9 FM Chicago.

An added bonus to the holiday hijinx is all the free time I have in these next 6 weeks. I get off from work between Christmas and New Years. I am taking the rest of my vacation days before they expire. Plus the office should be quiet without any necessary late nights. This means more time for writing and reading -- and this year, I am prepared. I have made a list of books I plan to read. And yes, I've checked it twice.
All photos from

#1 - The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen
I read this book a decade ago, but don't remember anything about it except that a guy falls off a ship. I read Freedom two years ago and loved Franzen's writing, which delves deep into seemingly normal American society. He uses the 3rd person omniscient and lets you know every detail about every character, all with a spelling-bee-level vocabulary. (No mention of xylocarp, though) I'm 100 pages in, and so far it's great!

#2 - Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Everyone and their mother (and my mother too!) has been raving about this book, and I want to read it so badly! The concept hooked me, and I heard there are twists and turns you will never see coming. I've done my best to avoid all spoilers.

#3 - Back to Blood by Tom Wolfe

Tom Wolfe only publishes one book per decade, and he makes them count. His novels are sprawling tomes that hold a mirror up to our current society and capture every detail. The Bonfire of the Vanities is one of my favorite books, and he's definitely had an influence on my writing. Wolfe started out in nonfiction, and it's still reflected in his journalistic 3rd person style. While I write 1st person, my heart will always belong to 3rd person. I fear that it's a dying breed.

#4 - The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Every YA blogger, writer, reader and their mother has been raving about this book all year. Amazon just put it in their Top 10 of 2012. It's by far the most successful YA contemporary book of the year. I hear its Green's best book and a total punch in the gut. Sometime in 2013, I want to read Looking for Alaska, too. It'll be the only JG book left that I haven't read. 

#5 - The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler

This book has an incredible hook: Two teens log onto AOL in 1995 and discover their present day Facebook pages. I was a teen using AOL dialup in the '90s, so this will be a pure nostalgia trip for me. The book came out last November with a lot of hoopla, but then I never heard a peep about it afterwards. Did it not live up to the hype? I think when Fault in Our Stars came out less than 2 months later, it completely stole the book's thunder. I'm still insanely curious to read it.

What books are you planning to read this holiday season?